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Junior high students held on extortion charges

Date Posted: 2001-11-15

Four junior high school students were arrested Thursday on charges of extortion.

According to Tomigusuku Police, elderly students have been pestering younger students for money in what has become somewhat a tradition in affected schools. Investigators say that the activity has been going on for more than ten years in Tomigusuku, and in the case of Okinawa City, for more than four years.

In Tomigusuku, one student collected 24,500 in total in October for his birthday from about thirty sports club members who paid between 300 and 500 each. The boy had been arrested on suspicion of assault before the extortion was discovered.

Two students were arrested in Okinawa City and they are questioned for extorting a total of 50,000 from their fellow students. In Urasoe City, a 15-year-old student was arrested on the similar charges and was questioned of extorting total of 150,000 from another younger student.

A Prefectural Police spokesman says that they will put more efforts into educating students about money extortion by seniors from younger students. The police say that apparently the activity has been repeated from year to year. The police has enlisted the cooperation of school officials, PTAs and communities, and urges them to be stricter on such extortion.

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